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5 Fun Facts About October 16 In West Virginia History

---Learn Every Day: WV Today In History Facts Texted Each Day - Text: history wv To: 618-270-4005---

1. On October 16, 1856, the town of Harpers Ferry in West Virginia became a focal point of the national debate over slavery when abolitionist John Brown led a raid on the federal armory in an attempt to start a slave revolt. The raid ultimately failed, but it heightened tensions between North and South and is considered a precursor to the American Civil War.

2. In 1861, West Virginia became the 35th state in the Union on October 16th. It was created out of Virginia's western counties, which had refused to secede and join the Confederacy. West Virginia played an important role in the Civil War, supplying troops to both the Union and Confederate armies.

3. On October 16, 1923, the Scopes Monkey Trial ended in a guilty verdict against science teacher John T. Scopes, who had been charged with violating a Tennessee law that prohibited the teaching of evolution in public schools. The trial attracted national attention and became a symbol of the conflict between science and religion in American society.

4. On October 16, 1978, John D. Rockefeller IV was elected governor of West Virginia. Rockefeller served as governor for two terms and was instrumental in revitalizing the state's economy and promoting education and environmental protection.

5. In 2006, the Sago Mine disaster occurred on January 2, 2006, when an explosion trapped 13 miners underground. Only one of the miners survived, and the tragedy brought national attention to the dangers of coal mining and spurred reforms in mine safety regulations. The date of the accident, January 2nd, was later declared Sago Mine Disaster Remembrance Day by the West Virginia Legislature.
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